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ARTHUR STUPKA 
A SYSTEMATIC CLASSIFICATION 

FOR THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD 



BY 
ALEXANDER WETMORE 

Assistant Secretary, Smithsonian Institution 



No. 2821. — From the Proceedings of the United States National Museum 
Vol. 76, Art. 24, pp. 1-8 




SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION 

UNITED STATES NATIONAL MUSEUM 

WASHINGTON, D. C. 

JAM 8 1930 



HUR STUPKA 



A SYSTEMATIC CLASSIFICATION FOR THE BIRDS OF 

THE WORLD 



By Alexander Wetmore 

Assistant Secretary, Smithsonian Institution 



Since preparing a classification of North American birds 1 in 
collaboration with the late W. deW. Miller, of the American Museum 
of Natural History, for use in the fourth edition of the official Check- 
list of the American Ornithologists' Union, now in course of publica- 
tion, the writer has continued investigations in this interesting sub- 
ject, with the result that he here offers an arrangement of the known 
birds of the world, living and fossil, in accordance with his present 
understanding of their relationships. The work of Hans Gadow has 
been taken as a starting point, and such changes have been incorpo- 
rated as seem justified from personal research or from the investi- 
gations of others. In general, only such variations from the current 
order have been accepted as seem to be firmly established. Where 
doubt seems to attach to any proposition, the older classification has 
been followed; so the following scheme presents a conservative 
arrangement so far as possible. The list is complete for all cate- 
gories down to families. Attempt has been made to follow a definite 
terminology for the various groups, so that there may be no mis- 
understanding of their proper rank. 

Class Aves. 
Subclass Archaeornithes. 

Order Archaeopterygiformes. 

Family Archaeopterygidae, Archaeopteryx, Archaeor- 
nis (fossil). 
Subclass Neornithes. 

Superorder Odontognathae. 
Order Hesperornithiformes. 

Family Hesperornithidae, Hesperomis, Hargeria (fos- 
sil). 
Baptornithidae, Baptomis (fossil). 
Enaliornithidae, 2 Enaliomis (fossil). 
Order Ichthyornithiformes. 

Family Ichthyornithidae, Ichthyornis (fossil). 

1 See Auk, 1926, 337-346. 
3 Position provisional. 

No. 2821.— Proceedings U. S. National Museum. Vol. 76. Art. 24 

72823—29 1 



PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM vol.76 

Superorder Palaegnathae. 
Order Struthioniformes. 

Family Struthionidae, Ostriches. 
Order Rheiformes. 

Family Rheidae, Rheas. 
Order Casuariiformes. 

Family Casuariidae, Cassowaries. 
Dromiceiidae, Emus. 
Dromornithidae, Dro?nornis (fossil). 
Order Dinornithiformes. 

Family Dinornithidae, Moas (extinct). 
Order iEpyornithiformes. 

Family JBpyornithidae, /Epyornis (extinct). 
Order Apterygiformes. 

Family Apterygidae, Kiwis. 
Order Tinamiformes. 

Family Tinamidae, Tinamous. 
Superorder Neognathae. 
Order Sphenisciformes. 

Family Spheniscidae, Penguins. 

Cladornithidae, Gladomis (fossil). 
Order Gaviiformes. 

Family Gaviidae, Loons. 
Order Colymbi formes. 

Family Colymbidae, Grebes. 
Order Procellariiformes. 

Family Diomedeidae, Albatrosses. 

Procellariidae, Shearwaters, Fulmars. 
Hydrobatidae, Small Petrels. 
Pelecanoididae, Diving Petrels. 
Order Pelecaniformes. 
Suborder Phaethontes. 

Family Phaethontidae, Tropic-birds. 
Suborder Pelecani. 
Superfamiiy Pelecanides. 
Family Pelecanidae, Pelicans. 

Cyphornithidae, Cyphornis, Palaeochenoides 
(fossil). 
Superfamiiy Sulides. 

Family Pelagornithidae, Pelagomis (fossil). 
Sulidae, Boobies, Gannets. 
Phalacrocoracidae, Cormorants. 
Anhingidae, Snake-birds. 
Suborder Fregatae. 

Family Fregatidae, Man-o'war Birds. 



abt. 24 CLASSIFICATION OF. BIRDS WETMORE 6 

Suborder Odontopteryges. 

Family Odontopterygidae, OdontOfteryx (fossil). 
Order Ciconiiformes. 
Suborder Ardeae. 

Family Ardeidae, Herons, Bitterns. 

Cochleariidae, Boat-billed Herons. 
Suborder Balaenicipites. 

Family Balaenicipitidae, Shoe-bills. 
Suborder Ciconiae. 
Superfamily Scopides. 

Family Scopidae, Hammerheads. 
Superfamily Ciconiides. 

Family Ciconiidae, Storks, Jabirus. 
Superfamily Threskiornithides. 

Family Threskiornithidae, Ibises, Spoonbills. 
Suborder Phoenicopteri. 

Family Phoenicopteridae, Flamingos. 
Order Anseriformes. 
Suborder Anhimae. 

Family Anhimidae, Screamers. 
Suborder Anseres. 

Family Anatidae, Ducks, Geese, Swans. 
Order Falconiformes. 
Suborder Cathartae. 

Family Cathartidae, New World Vultures. 
Teratornithidae, Teratornis (fossil). 
Suborder Falcones. 

Family Sagittariidae, Secretary-birds. 

Accipitridae, Hawks, Old World Vultures, 

Harriers, Ospreys. 
Falconidae, Falcons, Caracaras. 
Order Galliformes. 
Suborder Galli. 

Superfamily Cracides. 

Family Megapodidae, Megapodes. 

Gallinuloididae, Gallinuloides (fossil). 
Cracidae, Curassows, Guans, Chachalacas. 
Superfamily Phasianides. 
Family Tetraonidae, Grouse. 
Perdicidae, Quails. 
Phasianidae, Pheasants, Peacocks. 
Numididae, Guinea-fowl. 
Meleagridae, Turkeys. 
Suborder Opisthocomi. 

Family Opisthocomidae, Hoatzins. 



PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM vol. 76 

Order Grui formes. 
Suborder Mesoenatides. 

Family Mesoenatidae, Roatelos, Monias. 
Suborder Turnices. 

Family Turnicidae, Bustard-Quails. 

Pedionomidae, Collared Hemipodes. 
Suborder Grues. 
Superfamily Gruides. . 
Family Gruidae, Cranes. 

Aramidae, Limpkins. 
Psophiidae, Trumpeters. 
Superfamily Rallides. 

Family Rallidae, Rails, Coots, Gallinules. 
Suborder Heliornithes. 

Family Heliornithidae, Sun-Grebes. 
Suborder Rhynocheti. 

Family Rhynochetidae, Kagus. 
Suborder Eurypygae. 

Family Eurypygidae, Sun-Bitterns. 
Suborder Phororhaci. 

Family Phororhacidae, Phororhacos (fossil). 
Suborder Cariamae. 

Family Hermosiornidae, Her?nosiomis (fossil). 
Cariamidae, Cariamas. 
Suborder Otides. 

Family Otididae, Bustards. 
Order Diatrymiformes. 

Family Diatrymidae, Diatryma (fossil). 
Order Charadriiformes. 
Suborder Charadrii. 
Superfamily Jacanides. 

Family Jacanidae, Jacanas. 
Superfamily Charadriides. 
Family Haematopodidae, Oyster-catchers. 

Charadriidae, Plovers, Turnstones, Surf-birds. 
Scolopacidae, Snipe, Woodcock, Sandpipers. 
Recur virostridae, Avocets, Stilts. 
Presbyornithidae, Preshyornis (fossil). 
Phalaropodidae, Phalaropes. 
Superfamily Dromades. 

Family Dromadidae, Crab-plovers. 
Superfamily CEdicnemides. 

Family CEdicnemidae, Thick-knees. 



ABT. 24 CLASSIFICATION OF BIRDS — WETMORE 

Superfamily Glareolides. 

Family Glareolidae, Pratincoles, Coursers. 
Superfamily Thinocorides. 

Family Thinocoridae, Seed-snipe. 
Superfamily Chionides. 
Family Chionidae, Sheath-bills. 
Suborder Lari. 

Family Stercorariidae, Skuas, Jaegers. 
Laridae, Gulls, Terns. 
Rynchopidae, Skimmers. 
Suborder Alcae. 

Family Alcidae, Auks, Auklets, Murres. 
Order Columbi formes. 
Suborder Pterocletes. 

Family Pteroclidae, Sand-Grouse. 
Suborder Columbae. 

Family Raphidae, Dodos, Solitaires. 
Columbidae, Pigeons, Doves. 
Order Cuculiformes. 
Suborder Musophagi. 

Family Musophagidae, Plaintain-eaters. 
Suborder Cuculi. 

Family Cuculidae, Cuckoos, Roadrunners, Anis. 
Order Psittaciformes. 

Family Loriidae, Lories. 

Psittacidae, Parrots, Macaws. 
Order Strigiformes. 

Family Tytonidae, Barn-owls. 
Strigidae, Owls. 
Order Caprimulgiformes. 
Suborder Steatornithes. 

Family Steatornithidae, Oil-birds. 
Suborder Caprimulgi. 

Family Podargidae, Frogmouths. 
Nyctibiidae, Potoos. 
iEgothelidae, Owlet-Frogmouths, 
Caprimulgidae, Goatsuckers. 
Order Micropodiformes. 
Suborder Micropodii. 

Family Micropodidae, Swifts. 

Macropterygidae, Crested Swifts. 
Suborder Trochili. 

Family Trochilidae, Hummingbirds. 
Order Coliiformes. 

Family Coliidae, Colies. 



6 PEOCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM VOL.70 

Order Trogoniformes. 

Family Trogonidae, Trogons. 
Order Coraciiformes. 
Suborder Alcedines. 

Superfamily Alcedinides. 

Family Alcedinidae, Kingfishers. 
Superfamily Todides. 

Family Todidae, Todies. 
Superfamily Momotides. 

Family Momotidae. Motomots. 
Suborder Meropes. 

Family Meropidae, Bee-eaters. 
Suborder Coracii. 

Family Coraciidae, Kollers. 

Leptosomatidae, Ground-rollers. 
Upupidae, Hoopoes. 
Phoeniculidae, Wood-hoopoes. 
Suborder Bucerotes. 

Family Bucerotidae, Hornbills. 
Order Piciformes. 
Suborder Galbulae. 

Superfamily Galbulides. 
Family Galbulidae, Jacamars. 
Bucconidae, Puff-birds. 
Superfamily Capitonides. 

Family Capitonidae, Barbets. 

Indicatoridae, Honey-guides. 
Superfamily Rhamphastides. 
Family Khamphastidae, Toucans. 
Suborder Pici. 

Family Picidae, Woodpeckers, Piculets. 
Order Passeriformes. 
Suborder Eurylaimi. 

Family Eurylaimidae, Broadbills. 
Suborder Tyranni. 

Superfamily Furnariides. 

Family Dendrocolaptidae, Wood-hewers. 
Furnariidae, Ovenbirds. 
Formicariidae, Ant-thrushes. 
Conopophagidae, Ant-pipits. 
Ehinocryptidae, Tapaculos. 



aet.24 CLASSIFICATION OF BIRDS — WETMORE 

Superfamily Tyrannides. 
Family Cotingidae, Cotingas. 

Pipridae, Manakins. 

Tyrannidae, New World Flycatchers. 

Oxyruncidae, Sharp-bills. 

Phytotomidae, Plant-cutters. 

Pittidae, Pittas. 

Xenicidae, New Zealand Wrens. 

Philepittidae, Asities. 
Suborder Menurae. 

Family Menuridae, Lyre-birds. 

Atrichornithidae, Scrub-birds. 
Suborder Oscines. 

Family Alaudidae, Larks. 

Palaeospizidae, Palaeospiza (fossil). 

Hirundinidae, Swallows. 

Campephagidae, Cuckoo-shrikes. 

Dicruridae, Drongos. 

Oriolidae, Old World Orioles. 

Corvidae, Crows, Magpies, Jays. 

Ptilinorhynchidae, Bower-birds. 

Paradiseidae, Birds of Paradise. 

Paridae, Titmice. 

Sittidae, Nuthatches. 

Hyposittidae, Coral-billed Nuthatches. 

Certhiidae, Creepers. 

Chamaeidae, Wren-tits. 

Timeliidae, Babbling Thrushes. 

Pycnonotidae, Bulbuls. 

Cinclidae, Dippers. 

Troglodytidae, Wrens. 

Mimidae, Thrashers, Mockingbirds. 

Turdidae, Thrushes. 

Zeledoniidae, Wren-thrushes. 

Paramythiidae, Paramythia. 

Sylviidae, Old World Warblers. 

Eegulidae, Kinglets. 

Muscicapidae, Old World Flycatchers. 

Motacillidae, Wagtails, Pipits. 

Enicuridae, Fork-tails. 

Bombycillidae, Waxwings. 

Ptilogonatidae, Silky Flycatchers. 

Dulidae, Palm-chats. 

Artamidae, Wood-swallows. 



8 PKOCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM VOL. 76 

Family Vangidae, Vanga Shrikes. 
Laniidae, Shrikes. 
Prionopidae, Wood-shrikes. 
Aerocharidae, Helmet-birds. 
Cyclarhidae, Pepper-shrikes. 
Vireolaniidae, Shrike- Vireos. 
Sturnidae, Starlings. 
Graculidae, Glossy Starlings. 
Meliphagidae, Honey-eaters. 
Nectariniidae, Sun-birds. 
Dicaeidae, Flower-peckers. 
Zosteropidae, White-eyes. 
Vireonidae, Vireos. 
Coerebidae, Honey-creepers. 
Drepanididae, Hawaiian Honey-creepers. 
Mniotiltidae, Wood Warblers. 
Ploceidae, Weaver-finches. 
Icteridae, Blackbirds, Troupials. 
Procniatidae, Swallow-Tanagers. 
Thraupidae, Tanagers. 

Catamblyrhynchidae, Plush-capped Finches. 
Fringillidae, Grosbeaks, Finches, Buntings. 

SUPPOSED FOSSIL FAMILIES OF UNCERTAIN SYSTEMATIC POSITION 

Gastornithidae, Gastorrds. 
Opisthodactylidae, Opisthodactylus. 



D. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1929